Today Lydia Kang is joining us with a recipe for Seollangtang!
In my latest book, TOXIC, the main character gathers the ships rag-tag mercenary crew and cooks a meal that isn’t just a pile of synthetic jello. It’s a pivotal scene. After all, food is so central to bringing people together. It’s comfort and nourishment and love.
Since Hana is of Korean ancestry, her mother tried to infuse Korean culture into her lonely and isolated upbringing. So it was natural that she wanted to make something soothing and homey. Granted—on board a living biosynthetic ship, there isn’t a lot of fresh food. Today, we’re going to pretend she had everything she needed to make a real, authentic Korean meal from scratch.
Seolleongtang (beef bone soup) is the soup that she makes. It’s a bone-based broth, with delicious noodles. Korean meals are severed with a smattering of banchan—side dishes of many varieties.
If you want to cook these, you’ll need access to a good Asian grocery store (better if it’s a Korean grocery).
For this meal, I made home made seollongtang (recipe to follow), as well as these banchan:
- kkaenip jjim: seasoned perilla leaves. This plant grows as a weed all over the place, but you can buy the leaves at the Korean grocer. It has a very particular flavor that’s herbacious and perfumy. To eat it, you grab one leave and wrap it around some hot rice. Yum! Here’s a link to a recipe: https://www.koreanbapsang.com/kkaennip-jjim-steamed-perilla-leaves/
- sigeumchi namul: spinach salad. This is a classic side dish. It’s quickly-blanched spinach with the usual additives: soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil and sesame seeds. This is a common topping in bibimbap (Korean rice bowl). Recipe here: https://www.koreanbapsang.com/sigeumchi-namul-korean-spinach-side/
- kongnamul muchim: bean sprout salad. This is one of my all time favorite dishes! I can eat a gigantic bowl of this and nothing else, it’s so good. Recipe: https://www.koreanbapsang.com/kongnamul-muchim-seasoned-soybean/
- kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchee). We also call it mu kimchee (mu= radish). This is the classic type of kimchee to eat with seollangtang. Okay, my cooking can only take me so far and I draw the line at making traditional kimchee. It takes a lot of effort and we can’t possibly consume gallons of this stuff in time, so I just buy it at the grocery store. If you’re adventurous, go ahead and make it! https://www.koreanbapsang.com/kkakdugi-cubed-radish-kimchi/
Here’s the meal at presentation. So much work for one meal! That’s Korean food. It’s worth the effort! And now, for the seollongtang recipe. This is adapted from the Koreanbapsang.com website. I’ve tested several of her recipes and they’re spot on. Also, she looks like my mom so I trust her. 😀
Seollangtang (serves 4+)
Ideally, I cook this over two days.
3-4 pounds of beef bones (I used a combination of oxtails and beef bones, both purchased at my regular grocery store)
1-2 pounds of beef brisket
Thin noodles (white colored wheat-based, not rice. And not buckwheat, either)
scallions for garnish
- Soak the brisket, bones, and oxtails in cold water. Dump the water after an hour.
- In a large cookpot, add the bones and oxtails and cover with water. Boil hard for a few minutes, and dump the water. These two steps remove a lot of the blood in the bones. Get rid of all that brown scummy stuff.
- Refill the pot with water, and bring to a boil. For seollantang, you want the water to actually boil while it cooks. A slow simmer means a clear broth; for seollongtang, to make that milky broth, it has to boil. Not a high boil, but something bubbly and active. Boil for 3-4 hours.
- Refrigerate the now white-colored broth.
- Skim the now hardened fat off the top of the cold broth.
- Bring back to a boil. Add the brisket, and cook for an hour.
- Remove the brisket and slice.
- Cook the noodles according to package directions. One pound for 4-5 bowls should do it.
- Plate your bowls. Fill with soup; add some oxtails to each bowl (this is optional—personally I love them but a classic seolleongtang doesn’t have oxtails in it), and a portion of noodles. Garnish with scallions. I don’t add salt to the soup, but leave it on the side for people to season their own soup according to taste.
There you go! A traditional Korean meal, soup to nuts LOL. Enjoy!
Pick up your copy of Toxic today!
Hana isn’t supposed to exist. She’s grown up hidden by her mother in a secret room of the bioship Cyclo until the day her mother is simply gone—along with the entire crew. Cyclo tells her she was abandoned, but she’s certain her mother wouldn’t leave her there to die. And Hana isn’t ready to die yet. She’s never really had a chance to live.
Fenn is supposed to die. He and a crew of hired mercenaries are there to monitor Cyclo as she expires, and the payment for the suicide mission will mean Fenn’s sister is able to live. But when he meets Hana, he’s not sure how to save them both.
As Cyclo grows sicker by the day, they unearth more secrets about the ship and the crew. But the more time they spend together, the more Hana and Fenn realize that falling for each other is what could ultimately kill them both.